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TDC has received a second approach from a private equity consortium, which may push the Denmark-listed telecoms group, - which on Wednesday had has an enterprise value of about DKr90bn, ($14.4bn) into a formal auction.
The four-member team of Apollo Management, BC Partners, Cinven and Silver Lake contacted TDC this month to express its interest, weeks after a rival buy-out team comprising Apax, Blackstone, Permira and Providence sent a letter to TDC saying it intended to make a bid.
That team was subsequently expanded to include Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, potentially denying the rival private equity consortium the opportunity to join in with one of the world’s biggest buy-out groups.
TDC shares traded nearly 4 per cent higher at DKr341 yesterday, valuing the group’s equity at DKr67.7bn. It also has net debt of DKr22.6bn. The shares are up 47 per cent since the start of the year.
The Apax consortium has bid DKr355 a share, a price likely to have been matched by the rival team.
TDC, which declined to comment, may yet try andto hold out for a bid from a strategic buyer and the board’s willingness to entertain private equity bidders is uncertain.
However, bankers on Wednesday said TDC may struggle to attract interest from rival telecoms groups, although they suggested Swisscom, the Swiss group, as a potential suitor.
TDC is also in advanced talks to sell its yellow pages directories business for about DKr5.5bn. That auction, being led by Goldman Sachs, is thought to have narrowed to two bidders: Doughty Hanson, the private equity group, and Australia’s Macquarie Bank.
Hedge funds are thought to have built stakes in TDC share register in anticipation of a full-scale auction for the group. “A lot of the stock is now in the hands of the hedge funds,” one banker said.
Private equity groups have been attempting to buy large European telecoms businesses recently, however two of the year’s largest auctions - Italy’s Wind and Spain’s Amena - have been secured by trade buyers.
TDC last month said it had “from time to time” received indications of interest from industrial and financial undertakings. “Of course, such contacts have been and will be considered,” it said.